We Heah Now


What Dead Last Looks Like

When I packed my modern day dulcemina (or suitcases to the uninitiated) I became one in a long, limitless line that stretches back across centuries. I became an immigrant. That immigrants founded the United States, points east, west, north and my own Caribbean states cannot be doubted. And I will save for more esoteric moments the “how can you discover something which already existed , fully inhabited by others?”  except where I can say what I did was not new and will not be new in the next ten days or ten years when untold others decide to pack and move.

It has taken more time than I care to count to adjust and feel comfortable in this new space but as my friend said and it is a mantra worth repeating, “We heah now”. And being “here now” means doing as the Romens dem do. It is only in salvation that one can truly claim to be in this world but not of it. Otherwise one must integrate. How does one colonise in reverse you might ask? Glad you did. Allow me to share but two rules of the road as the brilliant Kate Fox termed it in her sociological Bible on the British, Watching the English.


At the office you learn the rules of the tea point, since it is axiomatic that by now you are quaffing down cups of tea or coffee all during the day. The rules are simple. 1) Bring your own cup. 2) Wash it after use. This is optional since the degree of washing might mean ever darkening layers of tea or coffee stains building into a plaque like state which takes us to 3) Don’t use anyone’s cup. 4) After all holidays and trips away you must bring something sweet back for your colleagues which is placed at the tea point. If you fail to do so you feel a certain pressure to run down to the local Sanisbury’s scour the Foods of the World aisle and return with a suitable replacement to cover the boldfaced lie by implication that “I was thinking of work and you guys while snorkeling in Turkey”.5) Do not go overboard. Useful reminder to self when I made the mistake of bringing Jamaica themed mugs back to office, distributed to those with whom I had struck some type of connection, only to find that others all on thier own felt they had a connection too and actively enquired as to the whereabouts of their cups. 6) Do not answer in typical Jamaican fashion, for whatever you say while in that mode will be deemed rude yet not incorrect. 7) Answer as a Brit. With a smile and a murmured I shall get you one on my next trip. 8) Out of tea point ethics comes the reverse birthday treat. Yes, in this Bizarro world the birthday celebrant gets the distinct honour of bringing in treats on the day for those who do not have a birthday! Did you see that little Jedi mind trick there? I missed the unspoken and unsent memo and spent my first birthday in the office being pointedly ignored until the next native’s birthday revealed how we do things heah. 9) Don’t go overboard. Again a difficult thing to do when one is Jamaican, since overboard is our starting line. No need to buy the contents of Paul’s Patisserie for there is no race to the top here. Though to be fair some have been inspired to meet quality with quality. 10) Finally comment about the weather to everyone you see during that quiet time as you wait in line to fill your cup for your cuppa. The weather is the first and default conversation and it will distract people from the size of your cup. Mine is huge.


Cheers did not lie. In this millions strong metropolis you still want to be where everybody knows your name and so after two years of searching I have finally found my local and that would be the pub, innit? I have found my home at Park House in Clapham, where Paul the proprietor says my name and knows I like the odd glass of white. We knew we were a matched pair when I walked in sat at the bar and he played the contents of the best of Bill Withers as background music, followed with Marvin Gaye and moved in a grand piano. Very good for Friday night sing-a-longs. But let me take you quickly to that truly immersive of British sports ( no not darts), I am saying pub quiz. And as with all things there are rules.

1) This is a bloodsport, wear a cup and mouthguard. This is a note to myself as I roll in a few minutes late thinking we are going to have a few laughs. Nope, not that kind of party.Start time 20:45, my arrival time 20:50, scene on arrival people were there, set up in teams some numbering up to eight with pens poised completing warm up sheets. Oh yes, Paul’s got tables on other nights but for quiz night come early or stand outside. 2) And yes you need to warm up for pub quiz, listening Usain? 3) Must love dogs, sheet 1 consists of the pictures of 10 breeds of dogs, who knew there were so many? And yet there was no room for our common brow dog as Danes, pugs, yorkies and more I could never have known the name of looked up from the page. Fortuately team members were natives so 7/10 not bad. 4) Become steeped in the level of random trivia which sits below ordinary random trivia, such as the name of the person who wrote the theme musicfor Beverley Hills Cop in order to be able to answer the question what was the name of the theme music for Beverley Hills Cop? Axel F apparently and I have never heard of the musician. 5) Do not eat pub food after 9 pm. Chips with garlic aiolli sounds and tastes good on the night before but not so good on the morning after. 6) Recognise when you are en route to coming dead last and then 7) Befriend the QuizMaster, shamelessly flirt for clues and hints to avoid the inevitability of 6). 8) Do not try to engage the serious players in conversation, I think they are serious. 9) Do not celebrate aloud when you get one question right, this will not help you since the serious players will also have gotten it right and put even more daylight between your scores. Besides even your own year old nephew knows Mark Twain is Samuel Lehorne Clemens’ pseudonym. 10) Even when coming dead #@*! last, enjoy it. Wherever you go and for how ever long you stay there, you touch and are touched by people, you form friendships and you build community. We are humans and we need the company of others to be our better selves. And to let you onto their winning teams, dropping losers is universal.

That being said, even though I am heah now, I draw the line at the abuse of the English language. How is it possible to duplicate the past tense  auxilliary and active verbs? ” I was sat” and other grammatic head scratchers will be reviewed on another day.

One Response to “We Heah Now”
  1. Pat Mack says:

    GDub…..my only regret is that I have not yet found sufficient time to read ALL the posts…You had me rolling. Especially at the title….!

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